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Ride out into the Dubai desert in vintage Land Rovers.

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JOURNEY THROUGH THE OUTBACK

OUT OF AFRICA

TOP 10 PLACES FOR 2018

Lauren Jarvis climbs aboard the iconic Ghan train and rides from Darwin to Alice Springs.

Jessica and Jarrod Bryce tell us about their self-piloted journey across Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana.

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TRAIL BLAZERS

SIR RANULPH FIENNES PUT TO THE TEST

MEET THE BUCKET LIST FAMILY

From the John Muir Trail in California to the Torres Del Paine Trek in Chile, we reveal some of the world’s best hikes.

We asked his fellow adventurers to set the questions.

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Hotfoot it to these uber-exciting destinations. Don’t take your luggage anywhere else.

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The family who went on holiday two years ago and still haven’t gone home.


CONTENTS

11 Meet The Guest Editor Motorbike enthusiast Terence Tay tells us why he chose a life of adventure.

12 Contributors The expert writers, photographers and adventurers who helped us put our Journeys issue together.

14 Take Me Here Three journeys that are sure to inspire you.

21 Flying High The most unexpected travel buddy.

22 Chic Stays The hottest new hotels for 2018.

24 Capital Of Cool Why everyone will be heading to Lisbon this year.

26 Motorcycle Diaries Take a tour of Cuba with none other than Che Guevara’s son.

28 Journey Through The Outback Embrace the slow life and take a train ride across Australia.

34 The Homecoming King Grant Rawlinson tells us why he chose to row, ride and row all the way from Singapore to New Zealand.

38 Out Of Africa Jarrod and Jessica Bryce self-piloted a plane across Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana.

44 Top 10 Places To Visit For 2018 The destinations that you need to add to your calendar this year.

50 Biking Across Bhutan Andrew Eames saddles up and takes a ride across the Bhutanese countryside.

56 Trail Blazers Cam Honan reveals the world’s best hikes. Instagram-worthy shots guaranteed.

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Enjoy an eco-friendly adventure in Norway.

64 Sir Ranulph Fiennes Put To The Test Fellow adventurers set the questions for the world’s greatest living explorer.

68 Hotels Worth The Journey Getting there is half the adventure when you stay at one of these out-ofthe-way retreats.

74 Meet The Bucket List Family We chat to the family who sold everything and travelled the world.

81 Chef’s Guide To Bangkok Chef David Thompson gives us his guide to his Asian home.

82 If You Do One Thing… …Take flight over the Skeleton Coast.


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HEAD OFFICE: 33 PEKIN STREET, #02-1A FAR EAST SQUARE, SINGAPORE 048763

E D I T O R I A L GUEST EDITOR Terence Tay EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Claire Turrell ART DIRECTOR Claire Lambert CONTRIBUTORS Jessica Bryce, Andrew Eames, Lauren Jarvis, Cam Honan, Jo Upcraft

M A R K E T I N G

A N D

A D V E R T I S I N G

MARKETING MANAGER Lexi Shuttleworth MARKETING EXECUTIVE Sharon Mak

L I G H T F O O T

T R A V E L

FOUNDER AND MANAGING DIRECTOR Simon Cameron CO-FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR Nico Heath CO-FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR Lucy Jackson Walsh

WINNER: TRAVEL MEDIA OF THE YEAR 2017

LIGHTFOOT TRAVEL OFFICES: DUBAI (+971 4 455 8788), HONG KONG (+852 2815 0068), SINGAPORE (+65 6438 4091) Visit www.lightfoottravel.com Printed by Naili Print Media Pte Ltd, Singapore. For advertising enquiries contact info@lightfoottravel.com Reproduction in whole or part without written permission is strictly prohibited. Cover image: Take a walk on the wild side in Canada. Photography: Getty Images

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE IN THIS ISSUE?

You can book all the holidays featured with the help of a Lightfoot Travel Designer. Email info@lightfoottravel.com 8

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Visit our website

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TOP 10 BEACHES IN THE WORLD WHY YOU SHOULD GO TO MONGOLIA ON YOUR NEXT ADVENTURE GOURMET ROAD TRIP THROUGH FRANCE EXCLUSIVE HOLIDAY OFFERS BEST SAFARI HOLIDAYS IN AFRICA


MEET THE GUEST EDITOR “I am curious about what’s around the next corner, so it doesn’t take much to make me want to travel””

Just some of the places Tay visited on his journey. Clockwise from top left: Nong Khiaw River in Luang Prabang. Farmers in Myanmar. Danang in Vietnam. Stall holders in Siem Reap. The view from the Hai Van Pass mountain in Vietnam.

P PHOTOGRAPHY: TERENCE TAY AND ISTOCK BACKSHALL

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ingaporean motorcyclist Terence Tay left his job as an economics lecturer and chose to spend 83 days on the road travelling through Southeast Asia. The journey took him through Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Malaysia. Now his journey is complete he has set up his own motorcycle tour holiday company in northern Thailand to help inspire other young Asians to choose a life of adventure. So it seemed only right that we invited the adventurer Terence Tay as the Guest Editor of our Journeys issue. As with our previous Guest Editors Steve Backshall, Michel Roux Jr and Tara Stiles, Tay helped curate the list of stories featured in the issue. He chose ones that he hoped would encourage you to leave those skyscrapers behind and enjoy your own journey no matter how large all small. Here he tells us what attracted him to a life on the road...

“I am curious about what is around the next corner, so it doesn’t take much to make me want to travel. I always want to know what the next place has to offer. I start each day of my journey by setting myself various waypoints to travel to before sunset, but I never seem to make them because I’m always having fun meeting various characters en-route. I hope what you read in these pages encourages you to have your adventure. When I spoke to the adventurer Grant Rawlinson he inspired me. You might not want to row across a sea like Grant, but reading about such an expedition can’t help but inspire you to push the limits of what you can do and enjoy your own journey. They say that starting is the hardest part of the trip. Once you’re on the road, things will work themselves out more or less. So the best advice that I can give to other people is just start.

TERENCE TAY The Singaporean motorcyclist spent 83 days riding through Southeast Asia. He now runs a motorcycle tour holiday company to inspire other adventurers.

TERENCE TAY Q&A The best day of the expedition That’s the day I left home. It felt great to finally get going and get rid of all that nervous energy. The most scenic place I’ve woken up A guesthouse in the highlands of Laos. I remember looking out across the courtyard and all I could see was the mountain range. It went on and on. I felt a sense of calm wash over me. My most challenging day I developed arthritis in my wrists and elbows in Vientiane, Laos. I remember looking at Google Maps, trying to work out how I was going to ride 340km from Vientiane to Luang Prabang. It felt like the longest day of the ride, emotionally speaking.

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L AU R E N JA RV I S

Contributors

We asked the writers who helped us put together this issue about their favourite journey

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UK-based journalist Lauren Jarvis writes for The Guardian and Daily Mail. This issue she decided to take an iconic journey on The Ghan train. My favourite journey: "Travelling in the Kimberley region of Australia is to travel back in time. Swimming the canyons of Karijini National Park, driving its red-dirt roads, and camping under the stars reminded me that I’m here for just a blink, and to make every day on our magical planet count.”

G R A N T R AW L I N S O N

DAV I D T H O M P S O N

Chef David Thompson’s restaurant Nahm at The Halkin was the first Thai eatery to receive a Michelin star. His second restaurant, the Nahm in Bangkok was crowned the top restaurant in Asia. My favourite journey: "When I came to Bangkok in the 1980s it was incomprehensible, it was strange, it was foreign, it was intoxicating, it was alluring, it was exotic, it was wonderful, it was enthralling, it was confusing. It’s a smelly and complex space. And I fell in love with it."

The record-breaking adventurer from New Zealand has climbed Mount Everest, kayaked across the Cook Strait and English Channel and is now rowing from Singapore to New Zealand. Each journey has been achieved by muscle rather than engine power. My favourite journey: "It was when I travelled from the highest summit in the North Island of New Zealand to the highest summit of the South Island by kayak, bicycle and climbing. I enjoyed the human powered journeys a great deal."

J E S S I C A B RYC E

A N D R E W E A M E S

Andrew Eames is from the UK. As well as contributing to The Times and The Guardian, he has also written five books, two of which have been named Book of the Week on BBC Radio Four. My favourite journey: "An annual journey to the Isle of Skye, which is where my mother comes from. It usually rains, and there are almost always midges, and we always do the same things, but there’s something about the landscape that invariably speaks to me, and always soothes away any stress."

Jessica Bryce is an Australian writer and entrepreneur. She has driven across Mongolia, completed the Kokoda trek in Papua New Guinea and is now taking her private pilot’s licence. My favourite journey: "Choosing a favourite from some of the incredible journeys we have completed is almost impossible. From theme parks in North Korea to picnics on a glacier in Iceland, every experience has been so unique. However, trekking to see the gorillas in Uganda is definitely up there. Getting up close and personal with those incredible animals in their natural habitat was truly a once in a lifetime experience."


P O S E I D O N

E X P E D I T I O N S

P R E S E N T S

Ultimate

A

ADVENTURE

Follow in the footsteps of the explorers and set sail for Antarctica with Poseidon Expeditions

ntarctica has been the setting for many heroic adventures. Now thanks to Poseidon Expeditions you will be given the chance to take your own voyage of discovery. Antarctica is one of the last true wilderness destinations on Earth and if you embark aboard the M/V Sea Spirit you will have a chance to explore it. The luxurious M/V Sea Spirit will sail from Argentina, through the famous Drake Passage and on to the land where the penguin is king. Get ready to be wowed by towering glaciers, boisterous penguin colonies and the sight of

humpback and killer whales breaching the water as they feed in the sea. The small and highly manoeuvrable M/V Sea Spirit is able to go deep into the waterways of the White Continent, but the team will take you even closer to the wildlife with the help of an inflatable Zodiac boat. You will certainly have many unbelievable wildlife encounters on your journey so make sure that you brush up on your camera skills. If you want to deepen your unforgettable Antarctic adventure even further, you can also kayak through the waterways yourself or make camp as the explorers have done before you and spend the night on the ice.

MAKE A DATE Join one of these magical trips with Poseidon Expeditions 2018 26 November to 6 December 2018 5 December to 16 December 2018 15 December to 27 December 2018 26 December 2018 to 6 January 2019

2019 6 February to 17 February 2019 16 February to 27 February 2019

Clockwise from left: Guests kayak among the waterways. Two Antarctica inhabitants. A hike through the frozen landscape. Above: Getting closer to the action.

T +44 203 514 6521 | W poseidonexpeditions.com | E sales@poseidonexpeditions.com

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#TAKEMEHERE —

REGAL ROAD TRIP What could possibly make a drive along the Côte D’Azur more magical? When it’s done in a vintage Mercedes. Feel the wind in your hair and the sun on your face as you drive a classic Mercedes-Benz SL through the rolling hills and pretty villages of the region. Whisk your passenger along the Croisette Promenade in Cannes, through the historic town of Grasse and on to Carmague — the countryside that inspired Van Gogh’s paintings. Enjoy a little European flair with this exclusive trip from Lightfoot Travel.

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#TAKEMEHERE —

GOURMET G E TAWAY Join chefs Ian Kittichai and Luke Mangan for a culinary journey aboard the Eastern & Oriental Express. Each chef will take guests on a guided tour of a local food market in Singapore or Bangkok before you board the train with them and try some of their gourmet creations. Mangan will join guests from Singapore to Bangkok in March 2018, while Kittichai will take guests from Bangkok to Singapore in November 2018. Dine in style aboard the Eastern & Oriental Express.


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#TAKEMEHERE —

PHOTOGRAPHY: CHRISTIAN SCHMIDT

SILENT SIGHTSEEING Glide alongside humpback whales, orcas and dolphins in this silent electric two-mast schooner. The award-winning boat that sets sail from Kaldfjord in Norway, will give you the chance to go deep into the feeding grounds of the whales without disturbing them. The vessel is so quiet the team can even record the sounds of the cetaceans underwater. To book any of these trips email info@lightfoottravel.com Old meets new — the schooner that has received a 21st-century makeover.

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L I G H T F O O T

T R A V E L

P R E S E N T S

CRAFTING EXPERIENCES

Lightfoot Travel creates holidays to suit individual needs — they are one-off, inventive and perfectly tailored

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ightfoot Travel was launched with one strong vision in mind — to offer bespoke holidays to those who were travel-curious, passionate about the world, and craved exclusive and meaningful experiences that would provide memories of a lifetime. Created by Simon, Nico and Lucy, they all had previous knowledge of the travel industry and could see that there was a gap in the market. As pioneers in the field, Lightfoot Travel offered the first proposition of authentic travel experiences within Asia, especially to those who sought the off-the-beaten-track destinations of Africa, Latin America and Antarctica. Since the company’s inception in 2009, guests have been able to cruise through the waters of Antarctica, ride on horseback across Mongolia and enjoy multi-destination safaris in Africa. Lightfoot Travel opened its first office in Singapore and has proceeded to launch offices in Hong Kong, Dubai and Bali, culminating in a team that boasts more than 200 years of combined expertise. The reason for their success? It’s simple. The founders and travel designers love what they do. They visit their specialist regions frequently and constantly update their knowledge so they can make their guests’ tailor-made trips as unique, inspiring and enjoyable as possible. For expert advice and the perfect itinerary that suits all of your needs and requirements, please do not hesitate to get in touch with one of our travel designers. Visit www.lightfoottravel.com or email info@lightfoottravel.com

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ON THE MAP W H A T ’ S

H O T

N O W

Flying High Take flight with a falcon over the Arabian desert For a bird’s eye view of the desert, join a falcon for a bespoke hot air balloon ride. You will be driven into the desert in a fleet of vintage Land Rovers, then you will join the falcon as it hitches a ride in your hot air balloon basket. The majestic bird will then be released and you can see it glide across the oryx and gazelle-filled landscape.

Drift across the Dubai desert.

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Como Uma Canggu BALI

If you love to hit the surf, but want to go home to a plush bed rather than a hammock, book into the new COMO Uma Canggu. This sleek retreat, which features its own surf school is set to launch this spring. The suites will come with floor-to-ceiling windows with stunning ocean views, the beach club will serve COMO’s famed healthy cuisine and there will also be a Shambhala spa for when you need to stretch out all those achy muscles.

ON THE MAP —

Chic Stays The hot new hotels that everyone will be talking about in 2018

Shinta Mani Wild

Kudadoo

Awasi Iguazu

If Bill Bensley had got into glamping earlier, we would have all been in the Scouts. The renowned hotel designer is about to launch Shinta Mani Wild between two national parks in Cambodia. The setting for the 16 suite retreat is a waterfall-filled oasis between Bokor and Kiriom National Park. Guests can relax in their luxury tent that overlooks the river, choose a treatment at the organic spa or enjoy dishes created from locally-grown produce at the Waterfall Restaurant.

When you really want to push the boat out you need to head to the new Kudadoo Maldives Private Island by Hurawalhi resort. Set on a private island surrounded by a beautiful lagoon, each of the 15 villas come with a butler, private infinity pool and unobstructed views of the Maldivian ocean. You can dine at the restaurant, order from the wine cellar and book a treatment at the spa. You can also use the facilities of nearby Hurawalhi island. But tsk tsk, they can’t use yours.

Looking for adventure, but love a little luxury too? Then book into Argentina’s first tailormade luxury lodge, which is just 15 minutes away from Iguazu Falls. Found on the banks of the River Iguazu, each of the 14 villas will be assigned a private guide and 4WD, giving you the chance to explore the jungle at your leisure. In the evening you can take a sunset boat ride along the river, enjoy a dip in your own private plunge pool or relax with a drink after dinner at the bar.

CAMBODIA

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MALDIVES

ARGENTINA


35 Years of

Purpose

Since 1983, our Purpose has remained the same. We are proud to be Africa’s leading authentic and sustainable ecotourism company, creating life-changing journeys and inspiring positive action. Our story is one of conservation and hope, celebrating culture and communities and extraordinary wildlife encounters.

Our journeys change lives www.wilderness-safaris.com

Our story is about Africa. Our story is about Purpose.


Clockwise from left: One of the city’s trams. A work by João Marça Hannelore at the MAAT. An egg covered in edible gold at Belcanto. Bill Fontana at MAAT. The beautiful coastal city of LIsbon.

ON THE MAP —

Capital Of Cool It’s all eyes on Lisbon in 2018

From top: The MAAT museum. Its four galleries are sunk below the ground to create a sleek appearance. The colourful tinned fish on show at retroloving store A Vida Portuguesa. The award-winning boutique hotel, Alma Lusa in Lisbon.

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Eight Michelin-starred restaurants, a cutting-edge museum, new air routes and hotels have made Lisbon the hottest city for 2018. If you don’t believe us, just ask the trend-setting popstar Madonna, who is said to have moved to the Portuguese capital. Surprisingly the hilly coastal capital is still kind on your wallet. It is the forth cheapest place to visit in Europe. It also receives more sun than anywhere else in Europe and is home to those delicious egg tarts. But what’s more exciting for visitors is that Lisbon remains relatively untouched. Due to the political upheaval, international brands decided to give the city a wide berth, which means that you are left with a city filled with boutique hotels, quirky family-run stores that only sell one item and a city that sports a laid-back air. It’s clear that the Lisbon people respect the finer things in life. They love artisanal homemade produce, in fact it’s as if they are the original hipsters. One such store that celebrates the city’s love of traditional buys is A Vida Portuguesa. Curated by a former local journalist, the store features some of the country’s most iconic produce, including olive oil, soap and colourful tins of sardines, octopus and mackerel. The city’s famed Fashion Clinic Store has also chosen to embrace more of lifestyle concept by recently opening JNcQUOI, a cluster of boutiques that includes a men’s and women’s store, a restaurant, bar, Assouline store and the first Ladurée Restaurant in Lisbon. However, the vintage ceramic-filled Feira da Ladra [Thieves Market] and the boutique-filled Bairro Alto are worth wearing down some shoe leather for as well. But it’s not just the stores that are ready to wow visitors, the restaurants are too. Three new restaurants won their

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first Michelin star this year and they now sit alongside veterans such as the two-star Belcanto. No surprise that it held onto its hardware, as apparently it can make a skate dish look like Jackson Pollock art work. Although the most talked about venue to launch in the city is the new Museum of Art And Technology [MAAT]. The architect behind the V&A extension in London has turned a former power station by the banks of the river into an Instagram-worthy museum. A park will open in March next to the museum — the perfect place to relax with a box of egg tarts.

DON’T LEAVE WITHOUT Hiring an eco tuk tuk. You can take a spin around the hilly city in this electric-powered vehicle.


ON THE MAP —

Motorcycle Diaries

For a history lesson with a difference, go on a road trip through Cuba with Ernesto Guevara Nothing intrigues the world more than the colourful country of Cuba. From its exquisite colonial streets filled with 1950s American cars, to its hot salsa clubs and chunky cigars. This colourful tropical island is a rich bed of culture that’s just waiting for you to explore. And who better to show you around than the son of one of Cuba’s most famous countrymen, Che Guevara? Ernesto Guevara, who is just as much as a fan of motorbikes as his father, is now taking guests on a tour of the country that his father fought

so hard for. History lovers and bike enthusiasts can climb aboard a Harley Davidson and ride out from Havana via the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Trinidad to Varadero or from the capital to the national park of Las Terrazas. On each tour you’ll also discover more about the man himself as you visit sights such as Che Guevara’s Command Headquarters and the Plaza de la RevoluciÓn. You can also book your own bespoke tour with Guevara’s team. Email info@lightfoottravel.com for more details

Top: Riding through Cienfuegos. Left to right: A quick rest stop en route. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Trinidad in Cuba.

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EXPERTLY CRAFTED HOLIDAYS

CONCIERGE STYLE SERVICE

HIGHLY PERSONAL APPROACH

24-HOUR EMERGENCY CONTACT

W W W. L I G H T F O O T T R A V E L . C O M SINGAPORE +65 6438 4091 | HONG KONG +852 2815 0068 | DUBAI +971 4 455 8788


EPIC JOURNEY —

JOURNEY THROUGH THE OUTBACK Unless you’ve visited the Outback, you haven’t experienced Australia. Lauren Jarvis joins The Ghan for one of the world's best train journeys

DEPARTURE

Darwin ARRIVAL

Alice Springs


PHOTOGRAPHY: GREAT SOUTHERN RAIL

DARWIN

ADELAIDE

The Ghan train cutting through the Northern Territory.

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A

ustralia is a land of six states, 10 territories and many faces. Sydney’s New South Wales is clean-cut and fresh, with perfect teeth and an eagle eye, eager to uncover the next Big Thing. Melbourne’s Victoria is bespectacled, bookish and bearded, or hip and creative, sipping a coffee of the Chemex-brewed kind. Brisbane’s Queensland is open, smiling and smart, sporting a glow from playing all day in the great outdoors. And the Northern Territory? While modern capital Darwin retains its glamour and gloss, its true face is worn by an Outback town called Alice: mysterious and wise, ancient eyes flashing an indomitable spirit — breathtaking, beautiful and wild. I first came face-to-face with Alice 21 years ago on a visit to spend the waitress dollars I’d accrued on a working visa at Ayers Rock Resort near Uluru. Alice Springs was our nearest town, and the epitome of excitement for our mob of temporary desert dwellers. It was a 10-hour round road trip to soak up its limited delights, found mainly under the roof of the exotic Lasseters Hotel Casino. Years on, the Alice that greets me as I step down from The Ghan train on a sizzling summer morning is a calmer, classier broad. Boutique hotels squeeze in beside cafés serving flat whites and chai, and sit beside drinking dens where doors don’t part in the middle. Lasseters has survived, glitzily revamped, with a fine-dining restaurant and spa, while festivals attract international guests, demanding more than ’roo burgers and wine-in-a-box. But as the dry, desert heat sweeps up my body, thawing my air-conned skin from the train, and a familiarly sweet smell of eucalyptus trees fills the air, memories of the Alice I used to know flood back: the dreamers that swaggered and swirled downtown; the shops selling spellbinding Aboriginal art before ‘Australian’ souvenirs were sent in from China; and the dry Todd River that cuts through the town’s middle, with indigenous Arrernte, the land’s traditional owners, camped out on its scorching, salmoncoloured sand. Alice Springs is a true ‘frontier town’ in the heart of Central Australia, and the midway stop-off point for

The Ghan, which runs over 1,850 miles, linking the country’s north and south coasts. In 1862, explorer John McDouall Stuart passed by, mapping and opening up the country’s ‘Red Centre’ for white settlement. The Overland Telegraph Line connecting Darwin to Adelaide soon followed, with a telegraph station built near the permanent waterhole at Alice Springs, named after the wife of the former Postmaster General of Australia, Sir Charles Todd. The railway line running from Adelaide to Alice was completed in 1929, replacing the camel trains that previously plied the route, and helping to transform Alice into a ‘boom’ town after gold was struck nearby in the late 1800s. Named in honour of the Afghan cameleers that delivered supplies to the settlers striving to survive in this harsh and remote land, The Ghan train on which I’m whisked to Alice began its journey in Darwin, over 900 miles to the north. The route was opened in 2004, completing the railway’s bisection of Australia. Like the Orient Express or Flying Scotsman, The Ghan is one of the world’s most iconic trains: a link to the glorious Golden Age of rail travel, when well-to-do passengers slumbered, and wined and dined in style, as previously unchartered wildernesses suddenly became theirs to explore. Boarding the train in tropically steamy Darwin is undoubtedly still an event. Many carriages are used for everyday travel from A (Darwin) to faraway B (Alice Springs) and even farther away C (Adelaide), or vice versa. But more opulent sleeper cars in Gold and Platinum class carry guests celebrating weddings, anniversaries and birthdays, or those simply wanting to see some good times roll. For this trip, my personal ticket is golden. I’m shown to a private, twin-sleeper cabin with an en-suite bathroom, and a large window that will screen my journey through the Outback, as I travel past timeless mountain ranges and eventually wake up to a redder, sandier world. Cleverly compact, with its sleek, dark-wood interior and stylish three-seater couch that transforms magically

Camel caravans preceded The Ghan.


PHOTOGRAPHY:TOURISM AUSTRAIA AND WORLD EXPEDITIONS/GREAT WALKS

“The Ghan is a link to the Golden Age of travel, when well-to-do passengers slumbered, and wined and dined in style, in previously unchartered wildernesses"

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into my bed while I’m at dinner, I’d be content to bunk down for the week, or at least the three nights offered in the new coast-to-coast ‘Ghan Expedition’. Instead, I’ve just one night on board, cocooned in crisp cotton, weaving my own Dreamtime stories, as I sleep soundly under the desert sky. We pull away just after 10am, and as the city’s urban jungle soon gives way to the bush, I unpack, settle in and wander the train, before lunch is served in the Queen Adelaide Restaurant. Entering the elegant carriage, I’m immediately transported into the pages of an Agatha Christie novel, my fellow diners potential suspects in a yet-to-be-written murder-mystery. In reality, the only blood-red spillage on the gleaming, white tablecloths is a drop of my Margaret River cabernet savignon, as I lunch with a pleasant couple from Perth. Travelling the country post-retirement in true Aussie style, the only things to have disappeared by the end of the meal are their plates of saltwater barramundi and four accompanying beers. Nothing to interest Poirot here, apart from a cheeky, post-luncheon crème de menthe in the Outback Explorer Lounge. Wisely concluding that a rail journey this long needs a distraction or two beyond the dining car, The Ghan’s Platinum and Gold tickets include a selection of off-train excursions at points of interest along the entire route. Guests can head underground to see subterranean homes and an opal mine at Coober Pedy, or hop off to experience the native wildlife at the Alice Springs Desert Park. My trip includes an afternoon A cabin on The Ghan. cruise along the Katherine River, beneath the soaring sandstone cliffs of ancient Nitmiluk Gorge. The traditional land of the Jawoyn people, it’s also home to some of Australia’s oldest surviving indigenous rock art. Optional upgrades add an extra ‘wow’, with scenic flights over the mighty monolith of Uluru, camel rides

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Clockwise from left: The Ghan train. A lizard warming itself on a rock. A view of the MacDonnell Ranges near the Outback town of Alice Springs. Guests enjoy a pop-up dinner at one of the stations along their journey.

across desert dunes, and Outback dinners under a blanket of stars. Back on board, I sink a sauvignon blanc in the lounge, as a burning sun sets over the increasingly ochre earth; bruising the sky with purples and pinks, gilding melaleuca and mulga trees with shimmering gold. Even Hollywood can't conjure up such perfection. Dinner brings new dining partners, more wine and a delicate pumpkin and ricotta roulade with salsa verde: 21 years on, vegetarians are finally welcome in the Outback. There’s chocolate and peanut butter delice to follow, before perfectly oozy camembert and crispy lavosh with fig jam mischievously plot to pop the button from my PJs. I reach my destination the next day by 9am, and after my last meal in the Queen Adelaide, I get ready to leave the train. As usual, I’m last off, and as I file out behind passengers meeting friends and hugging loved ones, here — as far from home as I could possibly be — I suddenly feel alone. I walk out on to the street under a clear, cobalt sky and see the amber ridges of the MacDonnell Ranges reaching into the distance, as a warm breeze heated by sun-scorched desert sand whispers in my ear. Alice lifts her face to greet me, and all is well.


PHOTOGRAPHY: TOURISM AUSTRALIA AND WORLD EXPEDITIONS/GREAT WALKS OF AUSTRALIA

“Extra stops include flights over the mighty monolith of Uluru, camel rides across desert dunes and Outback dinners under a blanket of stars"

I C O N I C

T R A I N

R I D E S

Take one of these breathtaking train journeys

THE BLUE TRAIN, SOUTH AFRICA

VENICE SIMPLON-ORIENTEXPRESS, VARIOUS

BELMOND ANDEAN EXPLORER, PERU

Travel past mountain ranges, desert landscapes and savannah grasslands teeming with wildlife on this 27-hour journey from Pretoria to Cape Town.

Relax in your Twenties art deco carriage as you are whisked from London to Venice and even on to Istanbul.

You could hike from Cusco to the capital of the Inca Empire or you could sweep across the Andean plains on this luxurious sleeper train.

TRANS-SIBERIAN EXPRESS This hotel on wheels will whisk you through the Siberian countryside into the wilds of Mongolia. Your epic journey will be completed with a trip to the Naadam Festival.

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Adventurers Grant Rawlinson and Charlie Smith arrive in Bangka Island, Indonesia.

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ADVENTURE —

HOMECOMING KING New Zealand adventurer Grant Rawlinson has chosen to make the 12,000 kilometre journey from Singapore to his hometown of Taranaki, New Zealand by human power

DEPARTURE

Singapore ARRIVAL

New Zealand

SINGAPORE

DARWIN

COFFS HARBOUR

NEW ZEALAND


W

hile other passengers kicked back to watch the inflight movie, one passenger on the flight from New Zealand to Singapore was distracted by the map in the inflight magazine. The Kiwi adventurer who had just finished trekking, climbing and cycling from the summit of the highest mountain in the North Island to the summit of the highest mountain in the South Island, wondered if he could take on another human powered adventure. He questioned if, instead of catching a flight between his birth place of New Zealand and his new home of Singapore, he could make the trip under his own steam. The year was 2013 and the ex-rugby player Grant Rawlinson, 43, spent the next four years putting together the Rowing From Home To Home expedition, which would take him by road and sea from Singapore to his home town of Taranaki in New Zealand. On the 3 January 2017 he set off from Singapore to row to Darwin with the help of team-mate Charlie Smith. They rowed for 78 days in the six-metre long boat to reach Darwin. Then Rawlinson decided to do the next leg of the journey on his own and cycled 3,900 kilometres across Australia, which took him 45 days. And now at the time of writing, he is waiting for the weather patterns to change so that he can row from Australia to New Zealand in October. This leg is perhaps the most dangerous of all, as Rawlinson will be rowing solo across the Tasman Sea. It will take the father of two around 70 days to cross the infamous stretch of water. “The idea is to do it purely by human power. No sails, no engines, no ferries, no support vehicles following along…” says Rawlinson. Before Rawlinson and Smith set off to row across to Darwin, they spent seven months putting the boat and themselves to the test, circumnavigating Singapore and rowing around Indonesia's islands. Rawlinson also put together a team who would help them reach their goal, including an ex-naval officer who oversees logistics, a meteorologist, personal trainer and nutritionist. It wasn’t the first time that Rawlinson had taken to the water, he had already kayaked across the English Channel and across the Cook Strait in New Zealand. But it was the first time he had rowed across the ocean so his focus was on risk protocols as much as it was about building up his strength in the gym. “Sometimes we would be 100 miles off shore, with no support boat, so during this time, we had to make sure that we could get out of any situation we could get into,” says Rawlinson. “There was no magic button to push on the way to Indonesia, no helicopter to pick you up… We had to be very careful.” The state-of-the art rowing boat features everything that an ocean going yacht would carry, from safety vests and satellite communications, to a life raft and desalination machines. It also has the ability to right itself if it capsizes, as long as the exhausted rowers remember to keep the hatch door shut.

As much as they planned for the first leg of the journey, it didn’t come without its difficulties. Rawlinson was hit by food poisoning and they were both covered with heat rash that blistered on the skin. And when they were 150 miles north of East Timor, they ran into an invisible wall of headwinds and ocean currents. “We rowed for 24 hours together, non-stop, before we were completely exhausted,” says Rawlinson. “We rowed to East Timor and rested there for a week before we made the crossing.” However, when they reached Darwin at the end of the 4,200 kilometre row Rawlinson says it was definitely the best day of the challenge so far: “No-one had rowed from Singapore to Darwin before. I didn’t know if it was possible. I felt very relieved to make it.” Originally, Rawlinson had planned to row around the Northern coastline of Australia, but the winds were not favourable to row in that direction. So he had to abandon his plan to do this and cycle across the country instead. They completed their row on 22 March 2017 and Rawlinson had less than two months to prepare for the next leg. When he set off on 14 May 2017, he faced the strong headwinds that blew across the Outback, as well as the baking sun. But he was also treated to equally dramatic scenery. “I very much enjoyed being in the outback for many days by myself. I found the intensity and sensation of the experience to be much deeper,” Rawlinson explains. It also gave him the confidence to cross the Tasman Sea solo. “On the first row from Singapore to Darwin I also got to know the boat very well. It made me confident that I would be able to handle it, and taking on the most challenging phase solo seemed fitting for this journey, rowing from home to home.” Rawlinson will be leaving from Coffs Harbour and will aim for New

Clockwise: Rawlinson and Smith arriving in Darwin. Stopping to clean the boat. Enjoying a smooth crossing on the Java Sea. Entering the Bali sea. Rawlinson cycling across Queensland. Rawlinson's pop-up home in Australia.


JOURNEYS AROUND NEW ZEALAND

SAIL ALONG THE HARUAKI GULF

PHOTOGRAPHY ALISTAIR HARDING AND ROWING FROM HOME TO HOME

Leave the Tasman to Grant and spend a few days cruising on the Haruaki Gulf on a luxury yacht.

Plymouth in New Zealand. “However, it’s like trying to land a 747 jet on a mountain airstrip with a massive crosswind. It’s very clumsy and you have very little say where you come into,” says Rawlinson. “If I can land anywhere on New Zealand I will be happy.” Rawlinson will row through the daylight hours and try to sleep for six hours each night. He will be taking 70 days’ worth of dehydrated food, which he will heat up with desalinated water. The seasoned adventurer is also clear about what he will be taking on. “The Tasman Sea is an extension of the Southern Ocean — 100 kilometre per hour winds and 30-foot high waves will be common. It is a dangerous and fickle ocean. Only one person so far has been successful in rowing solo from Australia to New Zealand.” When crossing the ocean, he says storms are guaranteed. However, Rawlinson adds that it’s not how high the waves are, but how steep they are that’s his biggest concern. “A two-metre high wave that’s starting to break can capsize my boat. When the waves start to break things become very dangerous,” he says. This is why Rawlinson says it’s important to be prepared mentally too. “You’re going to miss your family, feel lonely, cold, hungry and scared, so a big part of my preparation is visualising each scenario and preparing for it.” He does this, he explains, by shortening the focus. “I reduce my outlook from one day, two days, down to the next 10 minutes or hour. If there is a lightning storm and I’m as scared as hell, I tell myself that no storm ever lasts.” He knows this could be his only shot at crossing the Tasman. “To get into a position to row across the Tasman Sea you need a lot of timings to come together – you need the right time of year, to be physically ready, have financial support… To turn around and jump back into the boat a month later probably won’t happen. You need to have all these stars in alignment,” says Rawlinson. However, while Rawlinson waits for his team to give him the go-ahead he is already planning other adventures. “I have planned some smaller exploratory trips around the southeast Asian region. I love finding unique journeys.”

GO HELIBIKING Stay at Edenhouse in the Orinoco Valley or the Minaret Station near Wanaka and you can book a helibiking trip, which will see you being flown to the top of the mountain and you can ride all the way back home.

TREK THROUGH FJORDLAND The dramatic Hollyford Track is set in the middle of New Zealand’s famed Fjordland. Within three days you can trek from the mountains to the sea and discover plenty of Instagram-worthy shots along the way.

EDITOR'S NOTE — “I have been following Grant’s journey. His stamina and willpower amazes me.” TERENCE TAY

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Now that's what you call a security guard.


Zambia EPIC JOURNEY —

OUT OF AFRICA Jarrod and Jessica Bryce set off on an epic self-fly journey, which took them over Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe

DESTINATION

South Africa

Botswana

LOCATION

Johannesburg

JOHANNESBURG

Swaziland

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W

ith a quick shout of “Clear prop” out the window of our Cessna 172, a nervous turn of the ignition and all 160 horses of the engine roared to life. This four-person flying machine was to be our trusty steed for the next few weeks as we set off to selfpilot our way across the breathtaking African landscape. With our travel buddies piloting a separate aircraft, we headed deep into the unknown. Our route on paper looked incredible. We would be travelling across Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe, and we would be given the perfect bird’s eye view. Starting our journey in Johannesburg, we gathered at Brakpan Airfield to collect our plane. After running through the technicalities and completing our validation flights, we were ready to take off on the journey of a lifetime. Those first few minutes in the plane were surreal. Climbing up into the clouds over Johannesburg bound for Botswana, the anticipation for what lay ahead was intoxicating. Before we knew it, we found ourselves navigating over the incredible Makgadikgadi Pans Game Reserve, en route to the Kalahari Desert. The only way to absorb the magnitude of the ancient salty super-lake is from above. We were in awe of the captivating, lunarlike landscape that seems to stretch on indefinitely into the hazy horizon. Flying in low over herds of zebra, buffalo and impala, we successfully completed our first African, dirt-strip landing. But no sooner had we touched down than a hungry-looking lion emerged from the long grass, stalking one of our friends as he secured his aircraft. Luckily he was saved by the impeccably timed arrival of our guide who escorted us to our lodge. We began to feel the full weight of the famous phrase, “T.I.A”, ‘This is Africa!’ Checking-in to Camp Kalahari, the first of many luxurious lodges in our itinerary, we were filled with anticipation for the flying and stunning accommodation that awaited us on our journey. If there’s one thing Africa does well, it’s property; whether you choose a tented camp, a hotel or a private lodge, you’re guaranteed impeccable service and cuisine as well as rooms that offer the highest standards of privacy and luxury, all perfectly set among the wild and pristine African wilderness.

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Clockwise from left: The Okavango Delta. Enjoying a little shade. Meeting the villagers and some of their unusual friends. A leopard taking a little respite. When the sun goes down the parks come alive. The meerkats keep a lookout on the ground and on top of your head if you're not careful. Just one of the African safari camps that you can call home. Spy creatures both large and small on your journey through the bush.

“Climbing up into the clouds over Johannesburg bound for Botswana, the anticipation for what lay ahead was intoxicating”

We spent the next 48 hours on horseback safari, walking with the Kalahari bushmen and enjoying sundowners on the salt pans however, the highlight had to be our encounter with the meerkats that live just a short distance from the camp. Now used to the small groups of tourists who come to visit them, these furry little guys are a far cry from the generally shy and timid versions found elsewhere in Africa. Sitting quietly beside their burrow, it wasn’t long before one of the troupe was clambering up my arm and onto my shoulder before taking up position as sentry atop my head. Holding in the giggles was almost impossible as he scoured the horizon looking for danger, expertly holding his balance on his hind legs above me. It was undoubtedly one of the most amazing and surreal moments I’ve ever experienced. If this was day one, we couldn’t begin to imagine what the rest of our African adventure had in store for us.


L O D G E S Y O U ’ L L L O V E Go wild for these safari stays BOTSWANA Chitabe Camp This island retreat in the Okavango Delta comes with luxury tents, exciting game drives and amazing views across the famed Okavango Delta floodplain.

Vumbura Plains Camp Nestled in between the Moremi Game Reserve and the Okavango Delta, this chic camp gives you the chance to have an African adventure in the bush and on water.

ZAMBIA Chongwe River Camp This award-winning camp is the last word in luxury. The only thing that could block your otherwise uninterrupted view of the river is an elephant or two as they stop to quench their thirst.

Nsolo Bush Camp This hideaway can be found on a bend in the Luwi Sand River that runs through Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park. The waterhole in front of the camp provides non-stop animal action.

ZIMBABWE Linkwasha Camp Visitors to this glamorous lodge can go on adventurefilled game drives and walking safaris as well as visit the local villages to find out more about traditional African life.

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Ruckomechi Camp The banks of the Zambezi River are where you'll find this chic camp. As it's in the heart of Mana Pools National Park, don’t be surprised if you see everything on your wildlife bucket list.

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Fuelled up on out-of-this-world experiences, delicious food and new friendships, we were ready for take off again, headed for the flood plains of the Okavango Delta. Flying into the Delta, whether as a pilot or a passenger is an incredible experience in itself. It’s as if a National Geographic documentary is unfolding right in front of you. Hippos and elephants were wallowing in the shallow Delta, while the crocodiles slid from every bank into the water to escape the dull monotony of our underpowered aircraft engine. We touched down at our next destination where the Kanana Camp guide was waiting for us, alongside wild dogs, warthogs, impala, monkeys, owls and even a black Mamba. We assumed he’d engaged them all for our benefit, but as the next few days unfolded, it became apparent that this was calibre of wildlife that you could expect when you take a trip to the Delta. The next few days of flying took us further north into the serene landscape of Zambia to witness the beauty of Victoria Falls and the mighty Zambezi. With a crocodile and a hippo vowing for territory every 30 metres within the frenzied currents, the Zambezi is a true spectacle and one to be respected (from above the surface!)

Above: Elephants taking a bath. Below: Kanana Camp in Botswana.


PHOTOGRAPHY: JESSICA BRYCE, ISTOCK AND VUMBURA PLAINS CAMP

“A constant stream of elephants were using the pool as their own waterpark”

Next, we found ourselves landing in South Luangwa in central eastern Zambia where no time was wasted as we were swept off for a morning, champagne game drive before settling in for another afternoon of dining and unsurpassed African hospitality. From there, having arrived at the northern most part of our journey, we flew south through Zimbabwe, navigating our way to Mana West, a remote dirt strip in Northern Zimbabwe, situated on the eastern side of the mighty Zambezi. Coming in to land, I was once again blown away by the indescribable beauty of this incredible region from the air. “Howzit”? bellows our guide as we stroll from our Cessnas towards his Jeep, his arms outstretched to simultaneously shake hands and pass us a cold beer. “I heard the Aussies were coming, so I packed extra beer,” he laughs.

The 20-minute drive from the airstrip to our lodge turned into a two-hour scenic journey which included lion cubs, bull elephants and a leopard drinking at a local waterhole. The seclusion and rawness of the area was unrivalled; another benefit of the fly-in safari. With the night’s lodge being situated right on the river, we found a continuous stream of elephants meandering innocuously through the grounds using the swimming pool like their personal waterpark. That evening, as we enjoyed our final sundowners and reminisced about our journey, we stopped to see two protective lions battle a pack of hyenas as they gorged on a baby hippo that they had separated from its mother only hours before. Landing back in Johannesburg on our final day, our self-fly adventure had taken three weeks and had seen us cover three countries and almost 4,000km. Words can’t even begin to contain the sights, experiences and memories we collected in that Cessna. A self-fly safari gives you the chance to soar over some of the world’s most captivating landscapes. Whether you fly yourself or charter a plane, this is one holiday where you’ll find that time truly is your own.

EDITOR'S NOTE — “Self-piloting a plane over Africa intrigues me. It has to be the ultimate safari.” TERENCE TAY


TOP 10

PLACES to VISIT IN 2018

Want to know which countries are the hottest places to visit this year? Then read on….

1. ETHIOPIA

WHY: A new international airport terminal and now daily flights from Singapore mean that since June it’s a lot easier to get there. STAY: Rest your head at the Sheraton Addis, where your every last whim is catered for. Including having music pipped into the swimming pool as you practise your lengths. EAT: Enjoy local dishes at the Oda Restaurant Café in Addis where Anthony Bourdain stopped by when he was filming No Reservations . Or follow The Simian Mountains. the crowd to the Lime Tree, which is famed for its buffet brunch. EXPLORE: If you go North from Addis, you can find the churches of Lalibela that are hewn out of rock underground and visit the Simian Mountains. And if you go South you can visit Ethiopia’s Great Rift Valley, which is home to a dizzying array of wildlife including gazelles, baboons, zebra and hartebeest. And then head on to Turmi where you will find more than 50 tribes living how they have done for centuries.

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The tranquil island of Mauritius.

2. MAURITIUS

WHY: This tropical island is about to celebrate 50 years of independence in 2018. Luckily, they have enough supplies of rum to keep the cocktails flowing. STAY: The One&Only Le Saint Geran has just relaunched after a huge makeover. All the suites have been revamped and it has also built a third swimming pool and a new club lounge. Luxury hotel brand Jumeirah is also expected launch in Mauritius in 2018. EAT: Looking for a little privacy? Then book the One&Only Tipi Private Dining Experience. The

The One&Only Tipi Dining Experience.

bohemian chic tipi comes with its own Parisian chandelier. The perfect place to dine under the stars. EXPLORE: Mauritius isn’t short of attractions. On shore you can tour the Domaine de L’Etoile, a picturesque national park where deer roam among cinnamon trees. Offshore, you can charter a catamaran, go snorkelling in the Indian Ocean and enjoy a barbecue lunch cooked up by your own chef.

Potala Palace in Lhasa.

The St Regis Lhasa.

3. TIBET

WHY: It won’t be long before the masses want to follow you to the roof of the world. And why wouldn’t they? Thanks to its majestic mountains, glittering lakes and picturesque temples, Tibet is a sight to behold. STAY: At the glittering St Regis Lhasa that overlooks that former home of the Dalai Lama, Potala Palace. EAT: Snowland in Lhasa serves up an array of local treats, including yak curry. Although it’s almost just as famous for its baked items. Fans love the giant naan bread and the lemon pie.

EXPLORE: Tibet isn’t tiny by any means. It’s two-thirds the size of Western Europe. So leave the capital behind and drive to the former kingdom of Gyantse where you can view the Stupa of the 10th Panchen Lama, which is covered in precious stones. En route you will spy the Yamdrok Lake with its crystal clear water. Travel By Lightfoot | www.travelbylightfoot.com

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Young monks in Bhutan.

4. BHUTAN

WHY: Times they are a-changing. The kingdom that famously held fast to its traditional values is about to launch its first satellite in 2018. So if you want to see the Himalayan kingdom that has remained untouched for centuries, it’s probably best that you go now. STAY: At one of the five Six Senses Bhutan lodges that will soon be scattered around the country. The new retreats that open in 2018 can be found in Thimphu, Six Senses Bhutan. Punakhan, Gangtey, Bumthang and Paro. EAT: The fastest way to understand a culture is through its food. So take a seat on one of the cushions at the Folk Heritage Museum Restaurant and enjoy an array of traditional dishes cooked with seasonal ingredients. EXPLORE: Book a 10-day trip that will take you on a circular tour of Paro, Thimphu and Punakha. Along the way you’ll be given the chance to drive through rhododendron forests, hike through paddy fields and trek to the famed Tiger’s Nest monastery.

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The Eternal City.

5. ITALY

Hotel Russie.

WHY: This is possibly the most fashionable country on Earth. Retailer Zalando ranked each country on fashion, architecture and affordability and four cities (Rome, Milan, Florence and Venice) in the top 10 are in Italy. STAY: You won’t be short of places to stay in the Eternal City. Rocco Forte is about to open its second hotel in the city, Hotel De La Ville, which can be found near Hotel Russie, and the W Hotel is going to launch W Rome in 2021. EAT: For showstopping food with a view to match book a table at Rome’s only three-star Michelin restaurant, La Pergola. EXPLORE: Want to see the country in style? Then how about in a Ferrari? Take a self-drive tour from Rome along the Mille Miglia to Florence and Lake Como.


The striking Oman landscape.

Enjoy a massage on the mountain top.

7. OMAN

WHY: The Sultanate of Oman is ready to have its moment in the sun. Not only was it the location for the 2017 Condé Nast Luxury Conference, but it’s expecting even more visitors as luxury hotels have been launching at a dizzying rate across the land. STAY: If you are looking for a beach break you can book into the Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara. This chic

Say aloha to Hawaii.

6. HAWAII

WHY: Scoot plans to launch a flight to Honolulu by the end of the year. If you fly United Airlines via the US island territory Guam you can clear US customs in a fraction of the time. STAY: Nestled alongside the beach you’ll find the chic Andaz Maui Hotel. Choose one of the suites with stunning ocean views or relax in one of its villas that comes with its own plunge pool or Jacuzzi.

EAT: Hot foot it to Leilani’s near Whalers Village. This beachfront restaurant serves up mouthwatering snacks on its patio including coconut shrimp, fresh fish tacos and the hipster favourite, the Ahi Poke Bowl. EXPLORE: Take to the skies and Andaz Maui Hotel. catch a helicopter flight to Hana Rainforest Preserve, which is the largest rainforest in the US. Expect to see spectacular waterfalls and breathtaking beaches.

retreat, which opens in 2018 lies at the heart of the frankincense trail. Or if you would like to breathe in some fresh mountain air, book a stay at the Alila Jabal Akhdar, which offers massages overlooking the clifftop EAT: Enjoy a picnic on the beach without getting sand between your toes – book a table at The Beach Restaurant in Muscat. This restaurant that lies alongside a private beach offers dishes such as lobster, mussels with kaffir lime and grilled fish. EXPLORE: If you take a nine-day trip around the country, you will be able to go dolphin watching in the Musandam Peninsular, go dune bashing in a 4WD in Wahiba Sands and relax in a mountain top spa.


8. CHILE

WHY: The South American country is celebrating 200 years of independence so get ready to party. Plus you'll be pleased to know that you can now catch new non-stop flights from London and Melbourne. STAY: If you want to go into the desert, visit the refurbed Explora Atacama. The 17-acre resort comes with a spa, stable and its own hot springs. Or if you’re more of a city slicker book into the new Mandarin Oriental Hotel Santiago, the group’s first foray into South America. Explora Atacama. EAT: When in Atacama take a picnic out on a desert drive, or book a quincho – a gut-busting Chilean barbecue. When in Santiago, reserve a table at Borago owned by Michelinstarred chef Rodolfo Guzman. Why? You’ll see. EXPLORE: There are now two new ways to explore Chile in 2018 and both are just as much fun. You can now saddle up and explore the Atacama Desert by mountain bike. Or you can climb into your eco-friendly two-seater Southmobile and go on a guided wine tour of the Colchagua Valley.

Atacama in Chile.

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Local fishermen ready to haul in their catch.

Go on safari in Sri Lanka.

The wilds of Alaska.

PHOTOGRAPHY: ISTOCK

9. SRI LANKA

WHY: They have just relaunched a super scenic train journey from Colombo to Jaffna and a plethora of chic resorts have just opened on its shores. STAY: If you want to stay near the beach you can stay at the Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle. Alternatively head into the jungle and book into the new Wild Coast Tented Lodge that’s nestled between the beach and the Yala National Park. EAT: Sightseeing in Galle? Take a trip to The Tuna & The Crab owned by the same team behind the Ministry of Crab in Colombo. Visitors are said to love tucking into the chilli crab and getting their sashimi fix at the sushi bar. EXPLORE: You can go leopard spotting on safari in Yala National Park. Or you can go on a journey through the countryside on the newly opened Yal Devi Express, or ride from Kandy to Ella on a scenic train ride that takes you high into the tea plantations.

10. ALASKA

WHY: An array of new air routes means that the wilds of Alaska are now even easier to reach and expedition companies such as Lindblad have launched new ships in the water. STAY: Climb aboard one of the expedition ships bound for Glacier National Park. Book onto the National Geographic Quest, which not only includes all the tools you need to explore alongside plush cabins, a sundeck and spa. EAT: Dine on fresh, local, sustainable food when dining on National Geographic Quest and get to chat to your Nat Geo expedition leader who will join you in the dining room at meal times. EXPLORE: Take a kayak and paddle alongside sea lions, or take a ride in an inflatables Zodiac boat and get up close and personal to the humpback whales. Travel By Lightfoot | www.travelbylightfoot.com

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The Tiger's Nest monastery in Paro.


ADVENTURE —

BIKING ACROSS BHUTAN DEPARTURE

Andrew Eames believes that the best way to tour one of the world’s most reclusive kingdoms is by bike

Paro ARRIVAL

Bumthang

PUNAKHA THIMPU PARO

BUMTHANG

GANGTEY

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Above: A tsechu at the 17th-century Punakha Dzong monastery.

T

he locals thought that the thin mountain air must be affecting our brain cells. There we were, three middleaged tourists actually choosing to travel around one of the world’s most mountainous countries on pedal bikes. That in itself was strange enough, but when they also realised that we were being followed around by a perfectly good, comfortable minibus which we were deliberately not sitting in, they thought we were bonkers. I found myself beginning to agree with them as we ground up the last kilometre of the 3,390 metre Pele La pass on Bhutan’s East-West Highway, a thin ribbon of hardtop that doodles its way across the eastern Himalayas. And then, once over the top, I found myself agreeing with them once more as we careered down the other side on our Bhutan biking tour. That descent was like some kind of mad fairground ride, dodging landslips, swerving around yaks, hollering at macaques, and peering apprehensively over a sheer drop-off. Above us, a dozen griffon vultures wheeled, watching hopefully. The vultures probably thought we were mad, too, and yet we were discovering that two wheels were better than four. In the last decade or so cycle tourism has spread into the furthest reaches of the world, and that includes Bhutan. This method of travel appeals to people who want to stay fit, and also to those who are looking for a bit more insight into a destination than they might get from sitting in a minibus. And for us, in one of the world’s most reclusive kingdoms, the bicycle was proving ideal. The remote Kingdom of Bhutan, with its population of just 700,000, is an idiosyncratic place. It is famous for bucking the trend of other nations by replacing the usual emphasis on GDP and economic growth with its own homespun policy of GNH — Gross National Happiness — instead. The assumption is that people get more

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contentment out of living traditionally, off the land, than they would heading for cities to make money. This is a country that is used to doing things differently. It is a place where the national sport is archery, and the national dish is a kind of goo made up of chillies and cheese. Where a man may marry many wives and where wives may marry several men. It is a country which didn’t have TV until 1999, where Buddhism remains all-pervasive, and the little advertising that exists is commonly addressed to ‘all sentient beings’. The landscape itself is forever at prayer, and not just because of all the temples, stupas and gompas; hillsides are adorned with stands of tall white ancestor flags, like puffs of smoke; the valleys are filled with water-turned prayer wheels with clanging bells, steadily earning merit.


“The descent was like some kind of mad fairground ride, dodging landslips, swerving around yaks, hollering at macaques”

Above all it is a country in an intriguingly innocent state, having tried and rejected traffic lights, having outlawed tobacco, and having a traditional dress code for its official jobs and educational institutions that means that menfolk, in kho robes, appear to be wearing Scottish kilts, and the women, in kira, look like as demure as Kate Middleton going to work. Aware that all this makes it hugely attractive to travellers, Bhutan has pioneered its own approach to tourism, too. A ‘high value, low numbers’ policy means that visas are only issued for guided travel. As a result, visitors tend to come in either one of two main ways: either as trekkers who head off into remote valleys in groups, or as cultural tourists, who get carried from one monastery to the next in vehicles.

Clockwise from left: Navigating Bhutan's mountain roads. Punakha Dzong Fortress. Two of the children who were intrigued by the Western cyclists who would choose to ride rather than take the support vehicle that travelled with them. Rush hour: Locals wait to take the bridge across the river.


“The bicycles made great icebreakers with every young child wanting to try�

Punakha Dzong Monastery in the old capital of Punakha.


Clockwise from far left: Cycling through farmland. The small country is big on festivals. Monks wind their way up the steep mountain paths.

Now, however, there is a third way: by bicycle, which brings its own form of cultural immersion. The pedal bike, with its stop-anywhere, smell-anything, hear-everything capability, allows plenty of impromptu interaction with people and places. On the way up the Pele La, for example, I stopped for a breather outside a high-altitude ‘hotel’ — a shack that served rice — and started talking to a young girl who was waiting for her school exam results to come through. Those results would indicate whether she was going to be selected by the government for a future career, or whether she’d stay serving rice. A couple of days later we met some even younger students when we stopped off at a local school during break-time. The bicycles (which are rare in Bhutan) made great ice-breakers, with every young child wanting to try. Watching the older ones struggle to understand the concept of gears, I thought it was good metaphor for the nation as a whole: maintaining a low gear, but intrigued by faster-forward possibilities. Despite being on bicycles, our itinerary took in all the big places, starting in Paro — home to Bhutan’s only international airport — taking in capital city Thimpu, ancient capital Punakha, the remote high valley of Gangtey and ending in Bumthang. Meanwhile our vehicle was there for quick side trips. It whisked us off, for example, to the tsechu (festival) in Punakha Dzong, a giant riverside monastery from the 17th century. Inside, a dazzling group of animalcostumed dancers was twirling around a sinner brought

before the gates of heaven, in a parable watched by hundreds of villagers in spectacular traditional dress. Of course cycling in mountainous landscapes is not for everyone. You do need to be bike fit, and the thinner air can leave you short of breath. We did encounter some difficult road surfaces, and we did some off-roading, too, particularly on a section high above former capital Punakha, on a switchback trail covered in pine needles. From this height the big metal roofs of the Bhutanese houses made them look like tin tacks pressed into the valley walls. Fortunately, there’s not a lot of traffic on Bhutanese roads, and most drivers showed us a mix of astonishment and respect — apart from when we were brushed aside by a gleaming white Range Rover, a hugely incongruous machine in such a traditional place. “Don’t you feel envy?” I asked our guide, gazing after this offensive vehicle. He shook his head. “When I see that I think he is a lucky man who had good karma in a previous life,” he said. “But he also needs to behave well in this one. Otherwise when he is reincarnated next time, he will come back as a worm.”

EDITOR'S NOTE — “Much has been heard about Bhutan. I am interested to see what Andrew encountered on his ride.” TERENCE TAY

PHOTOGRAPHY: ANDREW EAMES, ISTOCK, @ABSOLUT_BHUTAN, @WHERETOGOH

EAT

H A P P I N E S S

I S …

The Folk Heritage Restaurant in Thimphu serves up local dishes such as hot JaJu using organic ingredients cooked in its wood-fire kitchens. While the Sonam Trophel Restaurant serves up mouthwatering momos (dumplings) alongside other local dishes such as ema datsi (cheese and chillies) at its base in Paro.

The low down on the highest place on Earth

SLEEP You can check out of the airport and into your Himalayan retreat within a matter of minutes if you book into COMO Uma Paro. The hideaway that overlooks the city features the Bukhari restaurant and COMO Shambhala spa. Or if you’re looking for more of an adventure book into the new Six Senses Bhutan which comprises not just one, but five lodges that are scattered throughout the country.

DO Whether you want to take a whirlwind tour of the country by helicopter, trek across a picturesque mountain range or visit a colourful festival, it's clear that this Himalayan country has so much to offer. Maybe this is why they chose to create the Gross National Happiness Index? It certainly has put a smile on our faces.

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TRAIL BLAZERS

Famed hiker Cam Honan showcases some of the best walks in the world in his new book Wanderlust

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"The Great Divide Trail treats the

hiker to a continuous course of glaciercarved valleys, glistening mountain lakes and jagged granite peaks. From start to finish it is an alpine tour de force" C A M

H O N A N

GREAT DIVIDE TRAIL, Canada R O A M I N G

T H E

C A N A D I A N

R O C K I E S

PHOTOGRAPHY: STEVIN TUCHIWSKY

"Beginning at the United States-Canada border, the Great Divide Trail winds its way 1,200km along the Rockies. It offers a wilderness experience par excellence."


WESTERN ARTHURS TRAVERSE, Tasmania A

S K Y L I N E

T R A V E R S E

I N

T A S M A N I A

"The Arthurs boast an impressive collection of jagged quarzite peaks, hanging valleys, glacier lakes and morianes."

WADI RUM, Jordan I N

T H E

V A L L E Y

O F

T H E

M O O N

"Dusty, red, blisteringly hot on summer days and dotted with ancient carvings, Wadi Rum in an otherworldly desert."


TORRES DEL PAINE TREK, Chile T R E K K I N G

A T

T H E

E N D

O F

T H E

W O R L D

PHOTOGRAPHY: MAX MÃœNCH, VIKTOR POSNOV, JAKUB POLOMSKI FROM WANDERLUST, COPYRIGHT GESTALTEN 2017.

"Upon viewing the Torres del Paine Massif it is hard not to do a double take. The landscape doesn't seem quite real. A more breathtaking introduction to a backpacking trip is hard to imagine."

"The Torres del Paine area is an enthralling mixture of jutting mountains, aquamarine waterways, shrubland and jagged glaciers". C A M

H O N A N Travel By Lightfoot | www.travelbylightfoot.com

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"It has long been wrapped in myths and legends and climbing to its tri-coned summit is a bucket-list experience." C A M

H O N A N

MOUNT KILIMANJARO, Tanzania A F R I C A ' S

R O O F T O P

"Whichever trail walkers choose, perhaps the main constant on a Kilimanjaro trek is that of change. During the course of an ascent, hikers pass through an incredible array of flora."

LAUGAVEGUR TRAIL, Iceland O T H E R W O R L D L Y

W A N D E R I N G S

"When it comes to natural wonders, Iceland sets the bar very high. It's home to 130 active volcanos and is one of the finest places to witness the Northern Lights."

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PHOTOGRAPHY: EDITH AND JOLLY DE GUZMAN, ABHIMANYU BOSE, ARNOLD VAN WIJK FROM WANDERLUST , COPYRIGHT GESTALTEN 2017. PHOTO © 2016 JÜRGEN WETTKE. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

JOHN MUIR TRAIL, USA A L P E N G L O W

I N

T H E

H I G H

S I E R R A

"When experienced hikers sit around the campfire and talk about the world's most beautiful pathways, the John Muir trail is invariably one of the first names mentioned."

Cam Honan shares more tales and tips for trekkers in Wanderlust, Copyright Gestalten 2017. USD$60, shop.gestalten.com

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T H E

S U N L U X

C O L L E C T I O N

P R E S E N T S

WILD TIME The Table Bay hotel in Cape Town encourages guests to go back to nature and join them for a gourmet expedition

C

ape sorrel, sea mussels and indigenous mint may sound like something that you would find at your local delicatessen, but they’re just some of the produce that you would discover when joining the chefs of Table Bay hotel for a foraging tour around the mountains and coastline of Cape Town. The chefs who have helped put The Table Bay hotel’s restaurant Camissa firmly on the city’s fine-dining map are keen to highlight South Africa’s own produce. Each week guests can join one of these masters of the kitchen

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for a tour of the countryside and coastline of Cape Town to discover South Africa’s flora and fauna. Guests are then invited to return with the chef to the kitchen, where he or she will reveal how the team use these ingredients in their dishes. The guests will then receive a treat for all their hard foraging as the chef will then cook them a three-course meal with some of the produce they found. Executive chef Jocelyn Myers-Adam, who was brought up on a farm in Canada, has long embraced the idea of farm-to-fork dining, but now she is focusing on fieldto-fork dining to give each dish its own original South


“The Cape boasts an array of native plants that can be used creatively to enhance the flavours of food and even define dishes” UNIQUE THINGS TO DO

VISIT AFRICA’S MOMA The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa has now thrown open its doors to visitors. The not-for profit museum houses the Zeitz Collection owned by the exCEO of Puma Jochen Zeitz, which is said to be one of the world’s best collections of contemporary African art.

PHOTOGRAPHY: SUN INTERNATIONAL AND CAPE TOWN TOURISM

ENJOY LOCAL VINTAGES Sample award-winning wines among the vines of Constantia and Stellenbosch.

African twist. “The Cape’s exquisite ecosystem boasts a diverse array of native plants that can be used creatively to enhance the flavours of food and even define dishes,” says Myers-Adam. “It is great to be able to highlight South African cuisine by sourcing beautiful local products and creating dishes that will showcase them in their full glory.” Guests who join the Table Bay chefs on their tours will not only get to see more off-the-beaten track areas of Cape Town, but they will be given the chance to taste foods that they have not tried before. Depending on the season, the foragers could be wandering from the slopes of Lion Head or Signal Hill to the coastline of Cape Point, where the Indian Ocean meets the Atlantic. “Each experience is unique and will leave lasting memories,” says Joanne Selby, General Manager at The Table Bay hotel. As Myers-Adam chooses to base her menu on indigenous produce, it means that what she creates changes with the seasons. But the challenge seems to only boost her creative juices. She has added num-nums (wild berries) found on the V&A Waterfront to her signature pork belly dish and cranberry-tasting hibiscus blooms to salads. She also adds buchu, which is famed for its medicinal properties to her cuisine. “Its leaves release an amazing aroma similar to blackcurrant which adds a unique flavour to savoury and sweet dishes,” she explains. The foraging expeditions are run for groups of four people and more. They are available for all Table Bay hotel guests subject to availability. So pull on your boots and go for a walk on the wild side.

Chef Myers-Adam in the Camissa kitchen.

GO FOR A HORSEBACK RIDE

Picturesque Cape Point.

For a sightseeing tour with a difference, saddle up and enjoy a horseback ride through the South African countryside.

Myers-Adam foraging for indigenous foods.

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EXCLUSIVE —

SIR RANULPH FIENNES PUT TO THE TEST We ask his fellow adventurers to set the questions This former SAS soldier was the first person to cross Antarctica by foot and visit both the North and South Poles by surface means. In 2003, after a double heart bypass operation, he decided to run seven marathons, in seven different continents within seven days. Now as he is just about to celebrate his 74th birthday Sir Ranulph Fiennes is attempting to complete the Explorers Grand Slam (climbing the highest peaks on all continents and reaching the poles). It should be no surprise that The Guinness Book of Records named him the greatest living explorer. So we thought it only fair his fellow adventurers had the chance to ask him some questions…

ALASTAIR HUMPHREYS ADVENTURER Q: Would you rather run out of chocolate or salami on an expedition? A: Sir Ranulph: Salami.

TRACEY C U R T I S -T A Y L O R A V I AT R I X Q: What would you like to be if you were doing life all over again? A: Sir Ranulph: Always happy.

O L LY H I C K S SAILOR Q: It seems that people are unable to distinguish the difference between tourists skiing the last degree to the pole or Henry Worsley’s attempt to achieve the solo crossing of Antarctica. Ran, do you think there’s a future for young(er!?) adventurers trying to make a living from exploration as you have done? A: Sir Ranulph: I really hope that it will be possible in some fields of outdoor challenges, but less easy than in the ‘70s.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes.


EDITOR'S NOTE

JOHN CANTOR

tourism — do you think that expedition

ADVENTURER

adventuring requiring large funds will disappear?

Q: Which place that you

A: Sir Ranulph: I’d love to make a guess, but it’s an

have visited was the most

unanswerable question.

intimidating and why?

A: Sir Ranulph: My first day at an English school

“I love the fact that it’s adventurers who set the questions. They are sure to think of questions that we won’t have thought of before.”

(after 12 years in South Africa). I felt inadequate

BENEDICT ALLEN

and different.

ADVENTURER Q: Is having a competitive

TERENCE TAY

D AV E C O R N T H WA I T E

nature the best motivator or does something

ADVENTURER

A: Sir Ranulph: I find it miserable not having an

Q: If you were to do it all over

ongoing challenge. That’s the driving force.

else drive you?

again, would you change anything to make these later years different? expedition doctor] and I would have gone that little

JENNIFER P H A R R D AV I S

bit further on one or two of our endeavours.

HIKER

A: Sir Ranulph: Yes. Mike Stroud [adventurer and

Q: A dedication to exploration is not without sacrifice. What is the greatest

R O S I E S WA L E POPE

personal sacrifice you have made in order to be

RUNNER

A: Sir Ranulph: I don’t remember making a

Q: Can you tell us a little about

personal sacrifice and that seems very selfish.

a lifelong explorer? Do you have any regrets?

your inner journey on these expeditions?

I do regret more than one occasion being beaten

A: Sir Ranulph: No, Rosie, because I’m no good

by Norwegians.

at introspection.

JASON LEWIS

D AV I D HEMPLEMAN-ADAMS

EXPLORER

ADVENTURER

Q: Is social media ultimately a blessing or a curse to the

Q: Which one expedition are you most proud of and why?

adventure world?

A: Sir Ranulph: The long expedition (38 years) of

A: Sir Ranulph: A curse in my opinion, but I imagine

marriage to Ginny.

younger folk would disagree.

ED VIESTURS

ANNA MCNUFF

M O U N TA I N E E R

ADVENTURER

Q: What was your worst

PHOTOGRAPHY: LIZ SCARFF, @BENFOGLE, @EDDIEBAUER @THEEXPLORERSCLUB @JENPHARRDAVIS

moment of doubt — where you

Q: You do a lot of work for charity. How important is it that adventure serves

thought you should have turned back, instead of

a purpose beyond that of a purely personal desire

going forward?

to explore?

A: Sir Ranulph: None. It was always the other way.

A: Sir Ranulph: It is a bonus to do useful stuff

I thought we should have gone forward instead of

like fund-raising and science on expeditions, but

turning back.

certainly not vital.

WILL GADD

DANNY MACASKILL

ICE CLIMBER

PRO RIDER

Q: What’s your favourite food

Q: Do you use music to

for cold weather travel?

motivate you?

A: Sir Ranulph: Cadbury’s Dairy Milk.

A: Sir Ranulph: Definitely not, but it would be nice to have a team member good with the bagpipes.

ADRIAN H AY E S

BEN FOGLE

ADVENTURER

ADVENTURER

Q: With so many people now

Q: Do you fear failure?

taking part in extreme expeditions and adventure

A: Sir Ranulph: Yes, I do fear failure. Travel By Lightfoot | www.travelbylightfoot.com

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L I N D B L A D

P R E S E N T S

GREAT ESCAPES

Join the Lindblad team for a trip of a lifetime in amazing Alaska

B

reaching whales, crashing icebergs, bear cubs fishing by the water edge‌ A journey along the coastline of Alaska is one that you will remember forever — particularly if you set sail with Lindblad Expeditions. Not only will you arrive on a state-of-the art expedition ship, but you will be accompanied by National Geographic guides. A front row seat to all the action is guaranteed each time. Like famed adventurer Lars-Eric Lindblad himself, you will be given the chance to explore. The ships will take

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you deep into the Alaskan wilderness, then you will be given the chance to trek, kayak and snorkel in one of the most picturesque places on Earth. The Lindblad team recently launched the bespoke National Geographic Quest into Alaskan waters, but rather than rest on their laurels the team have announced that they will be launching a second purpose-built ship, the National Geographic Venture. The 100 guest National Geographic Quest comes with a fleet of 24 sea kayaks, paddle boards, snorkelling equipment, and Zodiacs, all ready to help guests get


Spy brown bears, humpback whales and bald eagles.

EXPEDITION HIGLIGHTS Memories are made of this

View the icebergs and the ocean floor using state-of-the-art technology including video microscopes, hydrophone and underwater cameras.

Be given the chance to sail into whalefeeding grounds.

PHOTOGRAPHY: LINDBLAD EXPEDITIONS

Kayak through the waterways of Alaska.

out into the wild and have their own adventure. Guests are also given the chance to explore these remote places with the help of expedition technology such as remotely operated vehicles, video microscopes, a hydrophone and underwater cameras. The first voyage for Lindblad’s 2018 Alaska season will be a 14-day journey called “Treasures of the Inside Passage: Alaska & British Columbia.” This expedition will take guests from the sun-soaked San Juan Islands into British Colombia and on to the wilds of Alaska. The ship will then take eight shorter trips around the Alaskan

Lindblad's smaller vessels can travel into all the bays.

coastline for guests who would rather spend all of their time in the Alaskan wilderness. But just because you are away from it all, doesn’t mean that you will need to leave all those little luxuries behind. You will dine on locally sourced ingredients — including Alaskan salmon, you will sleep on organic cotton sheets and indulge in a relaxing treatment or two in the onboard spa. If you have to pinch yourself to see if this is all real when you are on a Lindblad-National Geographic journey, we understand… We would too.


INSPIRATION —

HOTELS WORTH THE JOURNEY

You don’t need to walk 500 miles to arrive at their door, but you will need to take a plane, boat or even whitewater raft to get there

THE ONE WHERE YOU ARRIVE BY HELICOPTER

Minaret Station, New Zealand

Deep in the wilds of the Southern Alps this lodge still remains the last word in luxury. Each chalet features sheepskin carpets, an ensuite bathroom and a hot tub on your private deck. How to get there? By helicopter, of course. WORTH THE JOURNEY: The lodge seems to use any excuse to take the heli. We’re talking heli fishing trips, heli mountain biking, heli skiing or heli picnics. But seriously, can you think of a better way to travel?


THE ONE WHERE YOU ARRIVE BY A WHITEWATER RAFT

Pacuare Lodge, Costa Rica

If you ever longed to take a swashbuckling adventure that leads you deep into the jungle this could be the trip for you. As there are only two ways that you can access this award-winning lodge — one is by a whitewater raft and the other is a basket that you ride across the river. The adventure continues when you get there as if you book the Jaguar Suite, you need to trek over your private bridge to reach your treetop dwelling. WORTH THE JOURNEY: You can spend the day abseiling down waterfalls, going for a zipline ride through the jungle canopy or hiking to the village of the indigenous Cabecar people. In the evening you can dine 60 feet above the jungle floor.

THE ONE ON AN ISLAND

Capella Lodge, Australia

If you’re looking for paradise, they say that this is it. Capella Lodge can be found on Lord Howe Island, which is a two-hour flight from Sydney or Brisbane. But this tropical hideaway comprises lush forests, cerulean seas and floral and fauna that you won’t find anywhere else on Earth. The nine-suite lodge captures cinematic vistas from its clifftop setting above Loves Bay. WORTH THE JOURNEY: Whether you enjoy bird watching, fishing, scuba diving or trekking, you will find that practically every outdoor activity is catered for here. Well, it is paradise. Travel By Lightfoot | www.travelbylightfoot.com

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THE ONE IN THE LAND OF THE NOMADS

Serra Cafema, Namibia

You will need to take a three-hour flight from Windhoek to find this oasis in the middle of the Namibian desert. Nestled against the banks of Kunene River, the only sound that you will hear at Serra Cafema are perhaps the springbok, zebra or native birds that have also made the area home. WORTH THE JOURNEY: Go for a quad bike excursion through the golden dunes, join a nature trek through the valley or visit the Himba community who still live a semi-nomadic existence. You can also take a trip down the river and go crocodile spotting.

THE ONE IN THE HIMALAYAS

Shakti 360 Leti, India

You’ll feel on top of the world when you book a stay at this lodge that's high in the Himalayas. You will need to pull on your hiking boots and join a simple trail that will take you through the wild and rugged landscape to an isolated, magical spot that offers 360-degree views of the mountains. This doesn’t mean that you have to rough it. Oh no, no. Take all those images of camping out of your mind and replace them with images of sipping ginger and lemon tea while lying on high thread count sheets. WORTH THE JOURNEY: You can just soak in the view from your mountain top, or go horse-riding, enjoy cooking classes or take part in a yoga session or two. Otherwise you can just wrap yourself up in a pashmina blanket and relax by your fireplace.


THE ONE ON A VOLCANO

Bisate Lodge, Rwanda

Tucked within the Rwandan jungle you’ll find Bisate Lodge. An eroded volcanic cone forms the backdrop to the lodge and the Afro-alpine forests provide the view. The four thatched suites come with roaring fires, the restaurant serves up gourmet food and the boutique resort even has its own wine cellar. WORTH THE JOURNEY: As soon as you arrive at this jungle lodge you will want to do another trek for it is in the nearby Volcanoes National Park that you’ll find the mountain gorillas. You can track one of the 12 groups of gorillas that live nearby or you can hike to the research site of famed environmentalist Dian Fossey. And while you are there you are even given the chance to plant a tree to help save the gorillas’ home.

THE ONE THAT’S A ROAD TRIP

Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa, Chile

It’s a small world. Chances are that you go on holiday and bump into someone you know. Don’t you just love that! No? Then go here. First you need to fly to Santiago de Chile, then you fly to Puerto Natales or Punta Arenas and drive to the hotel. Puerto Natales is a one-hour drive from the hotel and Punta Arenas is a four-hour drive to your hideaway and your adventure spa. Yes, this adventure spa that’s set on the edge of the Torres de Paine National Park gives you the chance to trek in the wilderness then return to some serious pampering. WORTH THE JOURNEY: The UNESCO biosphere site will take your breath away at every turn. From the black sand beaches that are perfect for leisurely walks to kayaking trips around the lakes or spotting Patagonia’s own mini ostriches — the ñandues. Travel By Lightfoot | www.travelbylightfoot.com

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THE ONE ON A LAKE

Kaya Mawa, Malawi

Even getting to this resort on Lake Malawi can be turned into an adventure. You can take an hour long flight in a light aircraft from the local airport to the island or you can jump aboard a 1956 tramp steamer, the Ilala, and turn it into a three-day adventure. But either way, the journey is worth it as Condé Nast Traveller called it one of the most romantic places in the world. And it’s not hard to see why. It’s the epitome of barefoot chic. WORTH THE JOURNEY: You can pull on your fins and discover the coral reefs, enjoy a relaxing massage in a gazebo that overlooks the sea or just enjoy sunset drinks on the terrace.

THE ONE IN THE AMAZON JUNGLE

Anavilhanas, Brazilian Amazon

If George of the Jungle had won the lottery he would have booked straight into there. Although he would have had to purchase a seaplane or boat as that this the only way you can arrive. Set on the banks of the Rio Negro, this luxury lodge in the heart of the Amazon is perfect for if you want to get away from it all. WORTH THE JOURNEY: You will have the chance to enjoy both land and water adventures. On water you can take a speedboat ride to the Caves of Madada, kayak through the Amazon rainforest or go searching for pink dolphins. And on shore, you can visit indigenous villages and learn how to shoot a bow and arrow.


THE ONE THAT YOU TREK TO

Mountain Lodges Of Peru, Peru

This is a Machu Picchu trek with a difference. Forget about napping under canvas, you can sleep in up to six different luxury lodges. Just book your trek and the team will create a walk that takes you from lodge to lodge so that you can kick off your boots, order a massage and sleep upon goose-down bedding. WORTH THE JOURNEY: Choose one of three treks — the Salktantay Trek, the Sacred Valley or the Grand Andean Experience, which will give you the chance to see both the Sacred Valley and do the Salkantay Inca Trek as you hike for 10 days to Machu Picchu.

EDITOR'S NOTE — “To think that once upon a time you could only camp in these places.” TERENCE TAY Travel By Lightfoot | www.travelbylightfoot.com

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DREAM LIFE Jessica and Garrett Gee with their children Dorothy and Manilla.

—

Meet the

BUCKET LIST FAMILY The family Gee famously had a yard sale, sold their belongings and hit the airport for an epic adventure


I

f you think that having children means putting your adventures on hold think again… Garrett and Jessica Gee are now living out their dreams and travelling the world with their children Dorothy, 4, and Manilla, 3. They gave themselves five months to travel through the South Pacific, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Indonesia. But this nomadic lifestyle got under their skin and two years later they are still going strong. The pressure of selling up and choosing to spend their life on the road was eased somewhat by Garrett having just sold his company to Snapchat for USD$54 million, but the young parents chose to live off only what they made in their yard sale. “The money for the business came quickly and can be lost quickly,” Garrett said during a talk

at his alma mater Brigham Young University. “We chose to put it in the bank and live off what we already had.” What the money did give them was the chance to combine philanthropy with their travels. Initially they gave gifts to well-deserving families, but more recently they have taken on larger projects such as building a school in Nepal. As former missionaries, charity work has also formed the basis of each trip, and they design the itinerary for each destination around adventure, culture and service. The couple met when working at a mission in Russia in 2007. However, they returned to university in the US and Garrett’s company started to gain traction. Then the Gee family grew from two to four as Dorothy and then Manilla came into the world.

Out of all their adventures so far, The Bucket List Family say that hot air ballooning in Turkey was one of their favourite moments.

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“Favourite moments include Dorothy attending her first day of school in Bali, sailing in French Polynesia and hot-air ballooning in Turkey”

Clockwise from top left: Trekking in New Zealand. Family time in Antigua. Making new friends in Nepal. An elephant taking a bath in Thailand. Taking the 4WD for a stroll in Tonga. We've come a long way babies — the family Gee returns to San Francisco where Garrett created his app Scan, which he then sold to Snapchat.

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PHOTOGRAPHY: @THEBUCKETLISTFAMILY, ISTOCK

Clockwise from top: The island of Bora Bora. Strutting their stuff in Cape Town. A safari in South Africa has been a highlight of their travels. Manilla meeting his first turtle in Hawaii. A mountain adventure in Switzerland. The Bucket List Family have slept on planes and in airport lounges, but sometimes they are lucky enough to stay in places such as Soneva Jani in the Maldives.

When Garrett sold his business, they started to think about creating more of a work life balance. After putting endless late nights into a start-up Garrett wanted to spend more time with his family. So Jessica and Garrett decided that while they were young and healthy, they would travel the world. However, the hardworking entrepreneurs still seemed uneasy about not having a 9-to-5 job so they called themselves ‘adventure journalists’. They also created a hashtag (#thebucketlistfamily) and started making videos of their trip for their 12 viewers on YouTube who comprised family and friends. Jessica and Garrett had a rough idea of what they wanted to see on their trip, but they soon discovered the route they took around the world needed to be flexible. “We had a few destinations on our bucket list, such as swimming with whales in Tonga and seeing the lantern festival in Chiang Mai,” says Jessica. “We quickly learned that we weren't going to see it all.” So they learnt to adapt. They weren’t out to break records — as a young family they wanted to take life at a slower pace. “Travel days are hard... no matter how long or short they are. So, we learned to stay in places longer. We enjoy staying in a place for at least a week and really getting to know the area,” says Jessica. At first they booked a nanny for when Jessica and Garrett wanted to go trekking or diving, but the family soon developed their own routine and if they needed an extra pair of hands they would use hotel childcare. The idea behind the trip was family bonding and they wanted to spend as much time together as possible. Each stop has created its own special memories. “A few favourite moments include going on a family safari in South Africa, Dorothy attending her first day of school at an orphanage in Bali, sailing around French Polynesia with some of our closest friends and hot air ballooning in Turkey,” says Jessica. They prepare Dorothy and Manilla for each stop on their journey by talking about what they will do before they get there. So rather than being stressed about the change of scenery, they are excited. While most days have gone swimmingly The Bucket List Family has had tough times too. “We’ve had a handful of rough days. They are usually on a travel day with cancelled flights or lost luggage,” says Jessica. “One day that was particularly difficult was when we were switching rental homes and our car was broken into and luggage stolen. Someone had robbed us of a suitcase that had all of our clothes. Even though it was only clothes and no one was hurt, we still felt violated.” After five months of travelling, they returned home as planned to the US to spend Christmas with their family. This was to be the end of their travels, but somehow they couldn’t bring themselves to settle down and return to normality. The nomadic lifestyle suited this laid-back couple from Utah more than they realised. The money they had raised from selling their belongings was running out and they didn’t want to tap into their

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Left to right: The Bucket List Family enjoying a time out from their travels. Now that's what we call a treehouse — The Den at Soneva Fushi, Maldives.

savings. But the world of technology gave them a lifeline once more, as their social media following had started to go through the roof. The family’s holiday videos had started to receive a lot more than 12 hits on YouTube. It had now reached 100k and they had an equal amount of followers on Instagram and Facebook. Everyone had fallen for this fun-loving family and the sponsorship deals started to roll in. The foursome were approached by airlines, hotels and Disney to review their brands. So with this emotional and financial boost they decided to keep going. For not only were they inspired by the places they visited, but the people they met. “We’ve met some really incredible people doing some amazing things,” says Jessica. “There was one lady who left her home in Amsterdam to run an orphanage in Bali; a family from Canada who are sailing all over the world with four kids and a guy who travels the world photographing sharks.” However, one person who struck a chord with the family is charity founder Casey Allred. He had moved to Nepal from the US and launched the charity Effect, which fights against human slavery. Allred created the charity to help educate young girls from poor villages and protect them from traffickers. He invited The Bucket List Family to visit their projects and help them promote the charity. After visiting schools and halfway houses and finding out more about the work of the charity, The Bucket List Family decided to do more than just promote, they decided to build a school. They invited any of their followers who also wanted to support the charity to join them on a Kickstarter page. Within 35 days they reached their total of USD50,000. And they are now ready to open the Kalpana school, which means imagine in Nepalese. Life always creates surprises, including the latest one for The Bucket List Family – they are about to have another member join them this year. They will choose a base when Jessica can no longer fly and the arrival of Baby Gee number three is imminent, although they don’t think it’s long before they will be back on the road. “The biggest surprise to me is that we’re still going!” says Jessica. “ I’m so happy I’ve done something outside of my comfort zone and I’m also really enjoying it.” They still have a few more places to tick off. “We’d love to swim with orcas in Norway, attend the Holi Festival in India, film gorillas in Africa… the list goes on.” To follow The Bucket List Family on their adventures visit www.thebucketlistfamily.com

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3 T R I P S F O R A D V E N T U R O U S F A M I L I E S Pack the Trunkis and head to the airport

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VISIT THE GAMES OF THRONES IN ICELAND

Walk in the footsteps of your favourite characters and take a trip to the Land of Fire and Ice. This rugged landscape is home to glaciers, volcanos and legendary adventures. During your stay you could join a guide for a glacier walk, enjoy a snowmobile ride, take a spin in a 4WD, or set the alarm so that you can catch the Northern Lights in action.

SEARCH FOR DRAGONS IN INDONESIA

Go dragon spotting — yes, really. Komodo National Park between the islands of Sumbawa and Flores is dedicated to the conservation of the Komodo dragon. There are close to 2,500 dragons in the park, so it’s highly likely that you’ll spot a few of these incredible animals during your visit. Once you’ve had your fill of dragon spotting, snorkelling is a must. Many of the day tours include a snorkel stop around the islands, so take a dip in the water and see if you can see Dory.

SHOOT RAPIDS IN NEW ZEALAND

Adrenalin addicts large and small should head to New Zealand. Start by heading to Shotover River in Queenstown, where tots from as young as three years old can go for a ride on a speedboat down this picturesque river. Then stay afloat with a ride in another boat, but this time head to Kaikoura for a little whale watching. Brace yourself for a glimpse or two of the Sperm Whales that bask in the area.


NEW ZEALAND W I N E ,

D I N E ,

E X P L O R E . . .

New Zealand wins our award for the best all-around destination. From families and honeymooners to groups of friends, give us a call to start planning your next adventure now.

LUXURY LODGES

FAMILY ADVENTURES

EPIC GOLFING

HIKING & TREKKING

FOOD & DRINK

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PHOTOGRAPHY: COMO HOTEL & RESORTS, DAVID THOMPSON, ISTOCK,, SUSAN SLATER/WIKICOMMONS

“You’ll run into everything whether it be durians, stir-fried noodles, smoked duck, wontons or chestnuts roasting…”

If you want to do a food tour… Go to Or Tor Kor Market. It has the best fruit and vegetables in Bangkok. Then China Town. You’ll run into everything — durian, stir-fried noodles, smoked duck, wontons, or chestnuts roasting…

A city on the move.

My first impression of Bangkok… When I came in the 1980s it was incomprehensible, it was strange, it was foreign, it was intoxicating, it was alluring, it was exotic, it was wonderful, it was enthralling, it was confusing. It is such a nebulous city. It engenders so many different feelings. It’s a smelly and complex space. And I fell in love with it.

David Thompson.

FOOD & DRINK Fresh shellfish at Or Tor Kor Market.

If I have a day off… I would probably go to Or Tor Kor market, or on the canals of Thonburi. Or I’d leave Bangkok altogether and go down to Hua Hin, which is just a few hours to the south of Bangkok.

D A V I D

One of Thompson's award-winning dishes at Nahm.

T H O M P S O N ’ S

CHEF’S GUIDE TO BANGKOK Michelin-starred chef David Thompson takes us on a virtual gourmet tour of the Big Mango Chef David Thompson scooped the first-ever Michelin star for a Thai restaurant when he launched Nahm at The Halkin in London, then won the best restaurant in Asia with Nahm in Bangkok. He is now bringing Thai street food to the world with his restaurant Long Chim, which is already in Singapore, Melbourne and Sydney and is about to open in more cities in 2018. He’s the perfect guy to give us a gourmet guide to Bangkok.

Wat Pho temple.

Want to eat? Hit the streets… I enjoy eating out the most in the markets… indeed the gutters of Bangkok. There is a great noodle shop halfway down Yaowarat Road, It has no name, but you will spot crowds from 6pm. And there is a great oyster omelette shop in China Town called Nai Mong Hoi Nang Tort.

The foodie souvenir you should take home from Bangkok… An extra 2kg on the waist.

The Smalls Bar.

One of Bangkok's famed street food stalls.

The bar you need to try… For me it’s Smalls Bar which is on 186/3 Suan phlu Soi 1. It's just near where I work and live. I drive the barman to distraction because I’m the worst cocktail drinker in the world as I never know what I want.

Psst… Not only can you enjoy Chef David Thompson’s creations at Nahm in Bangkok, but you can also sample his dishes on the Aqua Mekong where he is also consulting chef. Join him from 22 to 26 June 2018 or 3 to 7 August 2018 for a gourmet trip along the Mekong that you’ll never forget. Travel By Lightfoot | www.travelbylightfoot.com

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IF YOU DO ONE THING THIS YEAR…

Fly Over The Skeleton Coast Inspired by Jessica and Jarrod Bryce’s journey across Africa? Well, you too can soar over the spectacular African countryside if you take this private flight in Namibia. The five-day trip will whisk you over the Kuiseb Canyon to the Skeleton Coast and then on to the Hoarusib Valley. Along the way you might be able to spy one of the area's more unusual inhabitants — the desert elephant and the desert lion. Take to the skies in Namibia.

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Travel by Lightfoot: Edition 4 - The Journeys Issue  
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